The project sought both practical and scientific contributions in line with the priority objectives for the 2014-17 round of EEA/Norway Grants. For practitioners, it developed feasible, implementation-ready, tested and proven solutions for editorial policies regarding online commentary pages with a view on increasing the number of comments and their civility at the same time. The toolkit is scalable for media outlets of different size and complexity, and can contribute to increasing the quality of mass media in Romania, bolstering public trust in the capacity of media entities to provide a free and balanced platform for democratic debates.
The project made theoretically relevant empirical as well as methodological contributions to the state of the art in political science, media studies, and communication science on the sensitive topic of pro-democratic and minority-tolerant attitudes. It explored whether and how anti-democratic intolerant discourse among citizens may be reduced by political party elites, mass media, institutionalized norms for civility in public talk, and the usage of particular narrative frames in reference to certain groups. The project also shed new light on the extent and sources of many striking differences between Norway and Romania with respect to the presence of a pro-democratic, tolerant discourse among citizens.
For more details on the objectives and findings in each work package, see the work packages section.
Done in the project – an overview:
- Data sets regarding online comments on Romanian websites;
- Three citizens surveys in Romania;
- Citizen survey in Norway;
- Six public opinion experiments;
- Three surveys on journalists from the media partners;
- Two surveys on the moderators in the project;
- Four surveys and four focus groups on commenters and users of Romanian websites in the project;
- 27 meetings with the moderators which resulted in 27 hand-outs and 34 field reports being produced;
- Two interviews with editors-in-chief of Romanian publications that use online moderation on their websites;
- Seven experiments within comments: intervention, preview, reaction buttons, small font, comment highlighting, tags, post-moderation messages;
- The European Media Systems Survey (EMSS) deployed in 34 countries;
- One survey of the Members of the Romanian Parliament;
- One Romanian Candidate Study (at the 2016 parliamentary elections).
Tools & Infographics:
- Online quiz with examples of comments inspired by our research in the project;
- Moderation software (SIDECO);
- Crawler for the collection of online comments on Romanian news websites;
- Survey administration software for computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI);
- Online badges implemented on the media partners’ websites;
- Video-infographic which showcased the many activities and results of the whole project;
- Infographic: Moderation Timeline.
Reports & Papers:
- Report “Managing the comments section: terms, conditions and procedures. Romania in comparative perspective”;
- Report “Comments moderation in the Less Hate, More Speech project: how it works”;
- Report “The view from the frontline: Journalist perceptions of online comments and the moderation process in the ‘Less Hate, More Speech’ project”;
- Report “ADID (anti-democratic intolerant discourse) in Romania. A longitudinal approach”;
- Research note: “Editorial policies and views on online anti-democratic intolerant discourse. Terms and conditions for user generated content in Romania”;
- Theory-driven research brief based on literature review;
- Content analysis coding manual;
- Report on the “Big numbers” from the moderation process;
- Report “Engaging with the other: journalists’ and researchers’ approach to collaboration”;
- Report on survey-embedded experiments in Romania in 2015/16;
- One Working Paper on “Anti-Democratic Intolerant Discourse in Romanian Online Comments”;
- One Working Paper on the impact of anti-prejudice and pro-democratic norms on anti-democratic intolerant public discourse in Romania and Norway: “Anti-Roma Sentiment: A Review of Romanian and Norwegian Comparative Findings”;
- One Working Paper on determinants of anti-prejudice norms among Romanian politicians: “Gender, nationalism and constituency structure: determinants of anti-prejudice norms among Romanian politicians”;
- One Working Paper on the relation between media system characteristics, information quality and anti-democratic and intolerant discourse: “The presence of anti-democratic, intolerant, and discriminatory attitudes and behavior in different media contexts: a comparative analysis”;
- One Academic Paper on the impact of political party discourse on the expression of anti-democratic intolerant views among citizens: “Manufacturing tolerance? Political discourse, electoral campaigns and the expression of inclusive, pro-minority views“;
- One Academic Paper about the durability of the effects of moderation on citizens’ online commentary and their participation in the latter: “Public interest or public interests? The impact of journalistic choices on engagement and incivility on Facebook”;
- One Academic Paper about the patterns of interaction between anti-democratic and intolerant discourses among party elites, journalists and citizens: “Ethnocentrism, economic anxiety and framing effects: The rejection of refugees in Romania“;
- One Academic Paper about the influence of partisanship and media consumption on citizens’ anti-democratic and intolerant discourses: „From othering to the denial of basic rights of fellow citizens. An exploration of political intolerance in Romania“;
- Draft Book manuscript: “Less hate, More Speech – how can norms of civility and tolerance be institutionalised online in a socially and politically polarized new democracy and media system.“
Events, Talks & Dissemination:
Talked about the project at 15 events, conferences, debates, both local and international, and in 9 interviews on national and international media outlets (ca intro de la sectiunea de evenimente/conferinte)
- A talk on Europa FM about the project and online hate speech and its targets;
- Official launch of the project at ICEEfest, 2015;
- Presentation at the Workshop: “Working with Roma. Methodological Challenges in Dealing with Roma Past and Present”, Cluj 2016;
- “Less Hate, More Speech: breaking the bad in online comments” presentation at the International Journalism Festival;
- Presentation at the conference “Free speech, equality and non-discrimination. Contradictory values or complementary principles?” organized by Anti-discrimination Coalition, 2015;
- Project presentation at the Communication Seminar held by The National Authority for Scientific Research (NASR);
- One panel organised during NGO Fest, 2016;
- Presentation of the moderation methods employed in the project at the anti hate-speech seminar organized by People’s Development Foundation and Active Watch, 2016;
- Academic presentation at the General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR): “Rejecting the Refugees: Prejudice, Threat and Elite Discourse in Romania”, 2016;
- Academic presentation at the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA): “Tolerance or Rights: The Nature and the Roots of Prejudiced and Discriminatory Attitudes Towards Minority Groups”, 2016;
- “The effects of hate-speech in online comments” presentation at the Power of Storytelling Conference, 2016;
- Academic workshop during the SCOPE Conference in Bucharest, 2017: “The Role of Media and Political Elites in Fostering Tolerant and Pro-Democratic Citizens”;
- Talk on the project, its aims and results at the European Union Center of Excellence in Montreal;
- Presentation of research results at the Central European University (CEU), Budapest 2017;
- Debate on online hate speech at Adevărul Live, 2017;
- Final conference of the project.
- The project received an award at the Hate Awards Gala naming the team “champions of responsible public discourse” in 2016.
Less Hate, More Speech – Youngsters Get Involved!
The project is run by Median Research Centre (MRC) in partnership with Educ Association and targets young people between 12 and 17 years old, in order to help them better identify and react to online and offline hate speech.
More, on the project’s website.